An Unfinished Life
by Mark Spragg
Paperback- N/A

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  "A gem of a novel" by FTessa (see profile) 08/14/12

Jane Gilkyson has finally decided to leave her abusive boyfriend. With her 10-year-old daughter, Griff, she takes off in her ancient car, headed for the Pacific Ocean. But when the car dies and she’s left stranded, she has nowhere to turn but to her father-in-law, a man who blames her for the death of his son, and who is living his life in bitterness and misery on a small ranch in Ishawooa, Wyoming. Einar Gilkyson would probably be dead by now, too, except his oldest friend needs him, and that’s about all that keeps him going. It will be up to Griff to help them all see the need to let go of recrimination and regret, and to embrace love and forgiveness.

This is the first book by Mark Spragg that I’ve read, and it won’t be the last. He has mastered the art of “show, don’t tell,” giving us insight into these characters and their complex relationships without spelling anything out. His writing is rather spare, yet he conveys a strong sense of place. The dialogue is spot on; Griff asks intelligent questions but nothing a 10-year-old wouldn’t wonder, especially one who has grown to be a keen observer of others and learned to hold her questions until “the right time.” Einar and Mitch spar like the close friends they are – almost like an old married couple, they can anticipate each other’s thoughts and reactions. There is no pretty bow tying up the ending, either. There is hope for these people, but they still have a ways to go. I like a little ambiguity in my endings.

Spragg alternates different characters’ points of view. This lets the reader know what each character is thinking, but also serves to build suspense in that we aren’t privy to all the information at once. The audio book is masterfully performed by Tony Amendola and Judith Marx.

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/07/19

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